Tim Henman's incredible French Open run was brought to an end by Guillermo Coria in an enthralling semi-final.
The Briton raised hopes of a momentous upset when he took the first set, and led 4-2 in the second.
But Coria's fighting spirit saw him break back and he then turned the screw, winning the next 13 games.
However, Henman lifted himself to recover from 0-3 down in the fourth and served for the set, but Coria fought back again to win 3-6 6-4 6-0 7-5.
"I started off the match well but I had a difficult period in the middle," said a disappointed Henman.
"I played the best claycourt player in the world, I don't think too many people would argue with that, and I'm disappointed with the result. That's good and bad I guess."
Coria goes on to face fellow Argentine Gaston Gaudio in the final, after he defeated David Nalbandian in Friday's other semi-final.
Henman was bidding to become the first Briton to reach the French Open final in 67 years, and he could not have made a better start.
Coria, the title favourite and world number three, looked nervous and a composed Henman took full advantage.
At 4-3, the 29-year-old despatched a smash to seal a decisive break and an increasingly frustrated Coria could not recover.
It was the first set the Argentine had dropped in the entire tournament, and Henman's prospects looked even brighter when a stinging backhand gave him another break in the third game of the second set.
Coria, who had won 47 of his last 49 matches on clay, was clearly out-of-sorts but he proved his title credentials by breaking back in the eighth game.
Henman came up with three successive errors in the next service game and Coria took the set 6-4 to level the match.
With Coria finding a frightening level of consistency on his groundstrokes, the pressure began to tell on Henman and his forehand began to let him down.
The Argentine raced away, breaking serve twice in succession, one courtesy of a wild Henman volley, the other a brilliant backhand pass of his own.
Coria finished off the set with a precise forehand which landed on the baseline to break Henman for the third time in a row to take the third set 6-0.
Henman was facing the embarrassment of a second love set against him when he slumped to 0-3 in the fourth set.
But the 29-year-old was not quite ready to lie down.
He went on a mini-run of his own, winning five games in a row and delighting a raucous pro-Henman crowd by rediscovering the form he showed in the first set.
Coria, who lost in the semi-finals last year, was rattled but Henman faltered when serving to take the match into a deciding set and the Argentine broke back.
Serving to stay in the set, Henman's inconsistent forehand again came back to haunt him and another error gave Coria a place in the final for the first time.